Charlie Steffens (a.k.a. Gnarly Charlie) of KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
KNAC.COM: With so many all-time favorite songs, how hard was it to pick out the songs you chose for the [“Anthems” covers] EP?
Benante: The thing about picking the RUSH song, it would seem really obvious to pick something that is more, you know, well known, like, of course, “Tom Sawyer” or “YYZ”, something from that time, but the thing about the whole “All The World’s A Stage” record is it’s made up of the first three records — actually first four records. And the one song, of course, “Anthem”, always stood out to me as such a real heavy type of tune. When I listen to our first record, it’s kind of similar to some of the songs on that record, and “Anthem”, we could’ve covered it on our first record. It had that same type of feel. So, I guess that song always had something that was similar.
KNAC.COM: Why did you put “Crawl” and a remix of “Crawl” on the record?
Benante: We wanted to put “Crawl” on the EP so it would kind of tie in “Worship Music” a bit, so that, let’s say a JOURNEY or a RUSH fan hears about this EP — that we did these songs — and they take a listen to it; it would expose them to one of our tunes as well. They may have never heard ANTHRAX before, and it would kind of bring it to their ears. And then the “Crawl” remix — that whole thing happened a while back when “Worship Music” was being mixed, and I was talking to Jay Ruston, who mixed the record, and back on “The Sound Of White Noise” record, we had a song called “Black Lodge” We did a few remixes of that and there’s one that had a strings mix and I always liked that one and he liked it too. So, we had a discussion of doing something like that with “Crawl”, and he said, ‘I think I have someone in mind. Let me see.’ So he did, and then it just happened. I remember he sent it to me and I was ‘Wow. This is really cool.’ In this day of people doing remixes, some of them do a real creative remix and it’s really good. And some do stuff where they pop the drums in and out — you know what I mean? It’s not really a remix. You’re basically altering something here and there.
KNAC.COM: Do you have new material or will you start writing after the tour?
Benante: We have some leftovers from the last record that we’d like to dust off and work on and start doing some newer stuff.
KNAC.COM: Since the “Among The Living” lineup reunion, you’ve been hitting it hard, doing a lot of touring, there was the “Big Four” [shows], “Worship Music”, more touring, and now the “Anthems” EP and this upcoming tour. Do you think you’ll be keeping that same kind of momentum in the near future?
Benante: It’s hard to look into the future, but I’d like to take things a step at a time and not pre-plan something that can possibly have the effect of you put too much on your plate and you become overwhelmed. I think, if we’ve learned anything from our past is don’t overshoot it. Just keep things intact and keep all the relationships in working order.
Read the entire interview from KNAC.COM.